REPENT – The Kingdom of God has come near. MT 4,17
Lent 2017 has come very fast and we are invited to make the best use of this Holy and precious time. Originally, people did not observe Lent for more than a week. Some kept it for one or two days. Others kept it for 40 consecutive hours, falsely believing that only 40 hours had elapsed between Christ’s death and resurrection. Eventually, it became a 40-day period of fasting or abstaining from certain foods. “The emphasis was not so much on the fasting as on the spiritual renewal that the preparation for Easter demanded.
Today, Lent is used for “fasting from sin and from vice…forsaking sin and sinful ways.” It is a season “for penance, which means sorrow for sin and conversion to God.” This tradition teaches that fasting and employing self-discipline during Lent will give a worshipper the “control over himself that he needs to purify his heart and renew his life.” The Bible clearly shows that self-control-temperance-comes from having God’s Holy Spirit working in the life of a converted mind (Gal. 5:16, 17, 22). Fasting –of and by itself-cannot produce godly self-control.
God’s people humble themselves through fasting in order to draw closer to Him-so that they can learn to think and act like Him-so that they can live His way of life in all things. Notice what the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Thus says the Lord, Let not the wise many glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says the Lord” (9:23-24). Fasting and prayer helps Christians draw closer to God. So, Repentance leads to conversion and living according to the teachings of Christ. And this is the Kingdom of God.